Sunday, 11 October 2009

Welcome to Lagos..

I spent much of last Friday ferrying Sis and my niece around town. They'd been here for the last several weeks and were due to fly back to Lagos that night. At about 9.30pm a text message flashed.."We've boarded, thanks for everything..". I was pleased that everything had gone as planned and went to bed with a feeling of satisfaction. Then at about 4.30am Saturday morning, another text message sounded, waking me from deep sleep.."We've arrived, but we're trapped on the plane..". Alarmed, I jumped out of bed and tried to call them in Nigeria, but couldn't get through for some reason. So I went downstairs made some coffee, and with nail-biting anxiousness switched on the TV just to see if there was Breaking News on CNN of an aircraft mishap in Nigeria..

And I don't know for how long I sat there, but much to my relief, my phone rang again. It was Sis's Nigeria number. Apparently, a few seconds after the A340 touched down on the runway at Murtala Mohammed Airport, the lights at the airport went off. There was a power outage at the airport and the plane was unable to taxi safely to its docking place, trapping everyone inside the plane for about 30 minutes. I am advised that the aeroplane was eventually manoeuvred from the taxi way to the airport building with the help of the aircraft's own bright landing lights. On arriving at the docking point, the building in total darkness, airport and airline officials switched on their mobile phones, using the light from their phones in an attempt to illuminate the very dark tunnel through which disembarking passengers had to practically grope and feel their way in order to get into the airport terminal building, which itself was still in complete darkness..

It was not until nearly an hour after they touched down that the lights in the airport finally came back on and the baggage belt started running, enabling tired (and frightened) passengers to retrieve their luggage.. And I was wondering, what if there was a person on that flight visiting Nigeria for the first time? What a welcome this was!

As an aside, if you're not already browsing with Google Chrome, don't spend another minute without it.. :)


Mama Shujaa said...

NEPA still takes light? To this day? Nawa-o. And then I read somewhere that there is talk of banning generators?

It is the same surprise and wonder I experience when I think about Mathare Valley, in Nairobi. Where people live in cardboard boxes. They did when I would be driven to school from across the way, the "other side" of the valley. They still do today, and 40 plus years have gone by; people are born, raised, live and die in these circumstances, in the slums.

While Kenyan cabinet ministers are some of the highest paid (up to $34.000 a month!)in the world.

Nigeria, an oil rich, resource rich nation...

Wonders never cease.

Anengiyefa said...

Mama Shujaa, NEPA is behaving even worse than they did 30 years ago. The electricity supply problem is worse now than it was in the 1970's. What irks me most is that Nigerians don't seem to realise that it is unacceptable in the 21st Century for a country like Nigeria with its vast resources, to be unable to guarantee at least some measure of constant electricity power supply to its citizens. It seems that in Nigeria, the erratic supply of electricity is seen as 'just one of those things'. The worst you ever hear of in the media is a complaint here or a protest there.

People just shrug their shoulders and nobody takes responsibilty. It has been suggested that powerful people have taken control of the business of supplying generators and diesel; and that these same people have ensured that the power supply sitation in the country remains as dire as it is, in order that they may continue to profit hugely from the misery of their own countrymen.

The situation in Kenya regading the cabinet ministers and their pay is not far different from Nigeria. In Africa, the avarice and incompetence of the leaders is rewarded with stupendous amounts of public money. I am appalled, but worse still, I am ashamed!

FreeSurf said...

When shall we quit embarrassing ourselves for fuck sake? One freaking hour before they could restore the lights. What happened to the backup generators? I guess the diverted the money meant for the diesel. So much for that yeye woman's Rebranding Nigeria campaign. What an excuse to waste millions of naira.

As you rightly said, what a welcome for a first time visitor.

EagerEagle said...

Lived in Nigeria for 10 years in the 70's. but in those days, NEPA's problems were described as part of the recovery efforts after the Biafran War... Now some 30 years later NEPA's failures illustrates the nearly genetically embedded corruption in Nigerian leaders. One says that a nation has the leaders it deserves but this goes too far for me. It takes 2 to tango remember? And the whole world allows this to happen (the corruption that is, not NEAP of course -:)

Anengiyefa said...

Hello EagerEagle, welcome. My take on this is that corruption in Nigeria is not only about the leaders. Change this lot of leaders and the next lot will do exactly the same, maybe even worse. I've been told that I'm overly pessimistic, but I hasten to draw the distinction between being pessimistic and being realistic. I am not one of those who blindly believe that things will improve "someday", when all of the evidence is to the contrary. Its very upsetting for me, being Nigerian myself, since there seems to be nothing I personally can do about it. I've been told to go back home and make my own contribution. But many of those whom I know who went back, have either (1) Left again shortly afterwards, heavily disillusioned; or (2) Joined in the corruption. Neither of these two prospects I find are particularly attractive. Therefore, for the sake of my sanity, methinks I should just sit tight where I am now..

By the way, thanks for dropping in..